Lonely, neglected garlic sends out sprouts, but it's still good to eat

Ask the Chef

Sunday Gourmet

November 02, 2003|By Jim Coleman & Candace Hagan | Jim Coleman & Candace Hagan,Knight Ridder / Tribune

My husband and I have a disagreement about garlic that I hope you can settle. Once fresh garlic has sprouted those little green shoots, can you still use it?

The real disagreement should have been about who was responsible for putting the garlic where it wouldn't be found for six months. The good news is that you actually can use it after it has sprouted shoots.

Because it is older, the flavor is more intense, so you can cut down on the amount you use. Really old garlic can be bitter, though.

Now, as far as those shoots go, a wonderful Thai cook who works with me loves to cook with them. In fact, he says, they are very sweet. Back home in Thailand, they allow half of the garlic to sprout on purpose so they can use the shoots.

If you don't want to try the sprouts, just cut them off and chop the garlic.

Jim Coleman is executive chef at the Rittenhouse Hotel in Philadelphia, a cookbook author and host of television and radio cooking shows. Candace Hagan is a food writer and cookbook author.

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